It was my first trip to the gulf coast of Florida. The plane landed in Tampa Bay just 30 minutes from Clearwater and my first National Super Boat Championship. As much as I enjoyed watching the boats and attending the VIP parties, the beach left an impression.
As I walked along the shoreline, I realized I was walking one of America’s best beaches. In fact, it won Florida’s Best Beach Town (in a 2013 USA Today Poll) and with its sugar soft sand, new boardwalk, splendid sunsets, and warm water I agree it is one of Florida’s finest.
VIP Views of the Beach
Many of the top hotels in the area held VIP parties for viewing the races. I attended a few and took images of the beach from above or at a distance. These will provide a scale to the beach.
Walking on the Soft Sand in Clearwater
The roar of the engines could be heard from a distance, but I wanted to watch one class (there are multiple classes and races) of super boat races up close with my feet in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. After a few moments at the water’s edge, I decided to walk down the town’s famous Pier 60 to capture an image of the super boat in action.
The Beach at Shepard’s Bay Resort
The Tiki Bar at Shepards Beach Resort held the after party complete with a bikini contest. My VIP access did grant me admission, but it was a far different clientele from the VIP parties I visited earlier in the day. Here boats arrived and just tied up, passengers came ashore for drinks and the party spread from the beach bar onto the water.
It was a special weekend with the Super Boat National Championship (held the last weekend in September every year). i learned a tremendous amount about the boats and the races, but I found myself also learning about one of Florida’s best beaches. I’ll be back.
Stay adventurous, Craig
This post is part of the annual winter Beach Thursday Series. Every Thursday, all winter, prepare for a post from a beach somewhere across the globe. Special thanks to the City of Clearwater, Fl for the invitation.